The R.D. Parker Collegiate varsity girls basketball team finished the 2011-12 high school hoops season in the same position it was ranked throughout – fourth – after losing the third-place game of the AAA basketball provincials 82-75 to the St. Norbert Collegiate Celtics on Saturday morning in the Trojan gym.
Danika Tait nailed a last-second three-pointer to give the Trojans a 36-35 halftime lead but the Celtics opened the third quarter with a 9-2 run to go up 44-38 before the Trojans made it a 46-44 game about midway through the quarter. That was as close as they would get the rest of the way, through they were as close as four points in the final minute before three free throws by St. Norbert stretched the margin to seven points.
Janaye Tucker-Titanich was named the game star for the Trojans, who led 21-19 at the end of the first quarter before an 8-2 run gave the Celtics a four-point lead that they stretched to seven before giving up the final seven points in the last 2:22 of the quarter and allowing RDPC to take a one-point lead. Carole Dupuis took game star honours for the Celtics, who were the third-seeded team in the tournament.
Jessica Hunt was the leading scorer for St. Norbert, pouring in 32 points, while Paige Bevan, one of the tournament all-stars, added 29. Tucker-Titanich, also named to the tournament all-star team, had 23 points to lead the Trojans, while Sydney Clemons added 15 points. Bevan and Tucker-Titanich were equal through the first two quarters, each accounting for 13 points to lead their teams.
The Trojans' provincial championship dreams were dashed in Friday's semifinal as the eventual champion University of Winnipeg Collegiate Wesmen bested them 67-62. RDPC had the ball with 8.9 seconds left after University of Winnipeg Collegiate missed a pair of foul shots but an errant pass wound up in the hands of their opponents, though the Trojans got it back for one last-second heave that fell short and would have been too little, too late even had it not.
Down by 20 points at one point in the second half, RDPC drew within single digits as the Wesmen rested their starters.
The Trojans trailed 34-25 at halftime, with Tucker-Titanich leading RDPC with 12 points through the first two quarters, a tempo she upped in the latter half of the game, scoring 18 more to finish with a team-high 30 points and 18 rebounds, making her the second-highest scorer in the game, behind the Wesmen's Skylar Boulanger, who finished with 32 after dropping 18 first-half points. Clemons had 14 points for RDPC while Grace Fanhbulleh scored 12 for the Wesmen.
Trojans coach Sara Gillis said the game plan was to drive the ball inside in hopes of getting the 5'11" Boulanger and the equally tall Emma Arnott into foul trouble and off the floor, but it didn't work out as RDPC had hoped, with the Wesmen using the height advantage to block numerous shots early, a situation that led to the Trojans rushing open shots in the second quarter and failing to capitalize on decent looks at the basket.
RDPC opened the tournament with a 57-54 victory over the St. James Jimmies March 15.
Tucker-Titanich led the Trojans with 14 points, while her teammate Tayo Dimeji had 12. Andrea Duncan, with 17 points, and Joanna Wichenko, with nine, were the leaders for fifth-ranked St. James, which fell behind 14-6 early but battled back to tie the game at 23 apiece late in the second quarter. The Jimmies got the ball back with 12 seconds left in the game, trailing by three, but were unable to get a shot attempt off and turned the ball over, enabling the hosts to run out the clock and keep their hopes of advancing to the provincial championship final in front of their home crowd alive.
Ruth Spence was named the player of the game for the Trojans.